French get twin ‘wins’ | Inquirer Sports

French get twin ‘wins’

Join US in Rio grouping
By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 10:13 PM July 11, 2016

Tristan Tamayo/

Tristan Tamayo/

FRANCE coach Vincent Collet felt his team won twice in one night after the draw in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics basketball tournament put Les Bleus in an early collision with defending champion United States.

Fresh off steering France to an 83-74 victory over Canada in the finals of the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila late Sunday night, Collet witnessed the draw that also saw his team join early qualifiers Venezuela, China, Australia and Fiba OQT Belgrade winner Serbia in Group A.

Group B is made up of Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Lithuania, Nigeria and Fiba OQT Turin winner Croatia.


“I think it’s better to be with the United States,” said Collet. “After that, you must finish second.

“Both are difficult groups. We want to go as far as possible. We have something to play, my players see that. That’s why they are so much motivated.”

Granting that the French finish in the Top Four of its group, they will avoid the Americans in the first knockout phase of the Olympic tournament.

With a squad boasting of NBA players Tony Parker, Boris Diaw and Nicolas Batum and EuroLeague Most Valuable Player Nando De Colo, the French pulled off a four-game sweep of the Fiba OQT, including an 89-80 decision of Gilas Pilipinas in the tournament opener last Tuesday.


Collet said he will still deliberate with his coaching staff on the composition of his squad to Rio de Janeiro now that several NBA players like Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier could be available for selection.

Apart from De Colo, who took tournament MVP honors, backup point guard Thomas Huertel also shone for Les Bleus, particularly in the 75-63 victory over Turkey in the semifinals where he scored 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter.


De Colo capped a brilliant stint with 22 points, five rebounds, three assists, and three steals in the finals.

But the former San Antonio Spurs guard who now plays for CSKA Moscow, said reaching the Olympics was far more important than personal glory.

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“The Rio Olympics is special for an athlete,” said De Colo. “We did a great job doing it this week.”

TAGS: Canada, FIBA, France, Nando de Colo, Olympic Qualifying Tournament, USA, Vincent Collet

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